Sweet Spot – Best Mast Count for Ships?

Originally posted to Miniature Trading on July 2nd, 2016

Sweet Spot for mast count

HMS Viceroy, an average English 4 master.

Sweet Spot For Mast Count?

A day ago I was randomly pondering if there’s a kind of “sweet spot” in terms of a specific ship type or especially a specific number of masts.

Obviously each mast number has tons of great ships associated with it – but could one be called the “best” or slightly better than all the others?

I contend that ships with 4 masts are just about right. This category includes many of the best ships in the game, and this ship size and point cost is the perfect amount for both gunships, gold runners, and especially hybrids.

I could go into more detail, but I’d be interested to hear others’ opinions.

Pirates CSG Darkhawk II

Tough to beat one of the best ships ever – the Pirate hybrid Darkhawk II.

As for the other ship sizes: 1 masters are far too fragile to ramming, 2 masters are often overcosted for what you get, 3 masters are not quite “line of battle” ships and aren’t quite as good at being hybrids as 4 masters, while the 5 masters that can run gold effectively or play a hybrid role are few and far between. Game pieces with more than 5 masts are generally extremely expensive or used almost exclusively in gunship roles. (3 masters would be my runner up for the “sweet spot” designation)

I’ve always had a huge soft spot for 5 masters – they are my favorite ship type. However, they’re generally used in more of a gunship role. Based on the search function, there are more than twice as many 4 masters as 5 masters, so that speaks to the flexibility of 4 masters (an unfair advantage in this discussion perhaps, but a fact nonetheless). There just aren’t that many purpose-built 5 master hybrids – as good as the SC and Swallow are, a lot of people will still understandably use them as pure gunships. Also, there aren’t any 5 masters with more than 6 cargo spaces, while a few 4 masters have more than 6 (and plenty of 4’s with 6 as well). 5 masters are generally the truest gunships, while 4 masters are (in general) better hybrids while still holding their own in a line of battle full of 5 masters.

What is your opinion of the gameplay “sweet spot” in terms of mast count?  And why??

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6 Comments

  1. I guess each number of masters has it’s advantages and disadvantages as you have discussed. Maybe it just comes down to personal preference in the end?

    • @Andrew: It can come down to personal preference, but 4 masters are both plentiful (there are more of them than the powerful 5 masters) and extremely good (some of the best ships in the game have 4 masts, such as the Darkhawk II and Santa Isabel).

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